Our topic this week is to discuss the three seasons of being a teenager. In it we will talk about a season of calm waters, chopping waters, and storms and how understanding what season a teen is in will help make sense of where your teen is coming from.
Calm Waters. You may have decided the life for your teen seems to be somewhat smooth! What an excellent time to pour into your teen’s heart and soul. Psalm 71:17–18 says, “O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” As your teen’s parent, you are representing God, who is the ultimate teacher!
However, in ancient biblical culture, parents weren’t the only ones who took on a mentoring or teaching role! Older members of the community trained children and youth, too. Though you are called to be the primary teacher and mentor in your teen’s life, don’t underestimate the powerful influence others have; look for other models and mentors that could be involved in molding and shaping your teen—youth group leaders, grandparents, even young adults.
Perhaps your son or daughter is in a season where they need encouragement. The writer of Hebrews tells us how important this is for everyone—but it is vital for teens who are trying to figure life out: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24–25). Seek out ways to encourage your son or daughter, but remember teenagers long for community. Are there places where your teen can be with people their own age who will lift them up and challenge them too?
A teen’s life will go through seasons, and some might be rocky. Take advantage of those calmer seasons to guide and direct your teen’s paths in a way that will give them a firm footing to stand on when things do get rough. And remember, I’m here to help!
The dreaded “rocky” seasons your son or daughter will inevitably go through—otherwise known as “the storms in life.” These seasons can be some of your greatest challenges as a parent. Your teen’s heart may seem to have grown cold and bitter, or they may be experiencing an emotionally dark time. In extreme seasons, they may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or be depressed.
Make sure you pay attention to certain shifts in behavior, such as a change in friendships, a drop in school attendance, a dip in grades, or self-destructive behaviors. If you notice any of these things, seek the help of a Christian counselor, or look for a mentor to help them.
However, some “storms” might not be so rough. Your teen may be experiencing friendship issues, or intense academics may be stressing them out. An over-packed schedule might be weighing on them, or they might be exhausted as a result of crazy sports regiments. During those seasons, it is important to love your teen well and extend an overdose of grace. They might be touchy, lash out or cry for no reason. Rather than respond in the same way (isn’t it true we are just big kids in grown up bodies?) take a breath, and seek God’s guidance for what to do in that particular situation. Your teen is likely reacting that way unintentionally; give your son or daughter space to unload. Often, the safest place for them to do this is in your presence.
Sometimes loving your teen by letting them know you are aware of how rough things are and that you are praying for them is the best thing you can do. Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity in India, said the following: “Love is a fruit in season at all time, and within the reach of every hand.”
I understand the frustration of the parenting journey! Please let me know if I can be of any help!
Click here to view this week’s online parenting class.